What is a Health and Safety Committee?
A Health and Safety Committee is the collaboration of a business and its employees working together on health and safety matters.
A Health and Safety Committee identifies and implements measures to improve the health and safety of all workers. This includes the developing of health and safety standards, rules and procedures to contribute to the continual improvement of safety performance in an organisation.
Do I need a Health and Safety Committee?
A Health and Safety Committee, although highly recommended, is not a mandatory requirement.
However, if a Health and Safety Representative or at least five workers request a health and safety committee one must be established at the workplace within two months.
A Health and Safety Committee is a good opportunity to consult on matters that are the same for many workers. A committee is also a good option if people within a workplace would rather work as a group (Health and Safety Committee) than an individual (Health and Safety Representative).
What is the role of a Health and Safety Committee?
A Health and Safety Committee must meet at least every 3 months or when majority of the committee members request a meeting. Committee members do not all have to be at the same location, with members having the option to dial in remotely.
To ensure a meeting of the committee is effective committee members must be provided with:
- Reasonable time to attend meetings and carry out their functions as a committee member, and be paid at their normal rate of pay when doing so
- Access to information about hazards and risks at the workplace as well as information relating to the health and safety of workers at the workplace (excluding the personal and medical information of workers without their consent)
How do I train my Health and Safety Committee?
Fire and Safety Australia offers Health and Safety Committee training as corporate training for workplaces along with public courses in all states for individuals. This Health and Safety Committee training course is designed for newly elected members, current members, and managers, along with supervisors who are involved in health and safety activities.
The Health and Safety Committee training course covers:
- Current OHS/WHS legislation and supporting documentation
- The legal and administrative function of the Health and Safety Committee
- Consultation and worker representation activities in the workplace
- Roles and responsibilities of committee members
- Communication skills
- Methods of improving the effectiveness of committees
- How Health and Safety Committees can participate in the systematic management of safety in the workplace.
- Participation and continual safety improvement.
- SafeWork NSW. Safety Committees. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/health-and-safety/consultation-@-work/safety-committees. [Accessed 31 July 2018].